Doha R2: (3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (Q) Kateryna Bondarenko
Agnieszka Radwanska looms as one of the biggest title contenders this week at the Qatar Total Open. After receiving a bye through the opening round, Aga will begin her Doha campaign with a second round clash with Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko on Tuesday. Radwanska has been troubled by Bondarenko in the past, however it is hard to see the Ukrainian giving the Pole too many problems on this occasion given the form of the two players heading into this event.
Radwanska has made a positive start to 2016, winning the title in Shenzhen before reaching the semi-final stage at the Australian where she would ultimately succumb to Serena Williams in straight sets. Radwanska’s form has been very impressive since the U.S Open last year, the Pole has a 27-5 record since New York, winning 4 titles in the process. Aga has a very good recent record in Doha, reaching the semi-final stage at the event in 3 of the last 4 years. The world number 3 will be keen and confident that she can go a couple of steps better in 2016 and claim her first Qatar Total Open title.
Kateryna Bondarenko has generally made a pretty poor start to the season but does seem to be finding some decent form in Doha this week. The Ukrainian defeated Maria Sanchez and Evgeniya Rodina to progress through the qualifying draw before recording a decent 6-4 6-4 victory over Annika Beck the first round of main draw action. Bondarenko will enter her second round clash against Radwanska with nothing to lose and may be quietly confident given she has beaten Radwanska in the past, albeit a while ago.
Radwanska holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Bondarenko. All three of the previous encounters between the pair were way back in 2009, they both won 1 match each on hard court. Bondarenko shocked Radwanska in the first round of the Australian Open that year with a three set upset win.
Radwanska should be far too classy for Bondarenko on this occasion. The Pole has been extremely consistent over the last couple of months and is highly unlikely to slip up against an opponent such as Bondarenko. This is the type of match-up that Radwanska usually loves, she will not be overpowered and she will be able to dictate play and expose the many weaknesses in the game of the Ukrainian.